Can I be honest and say I wasn’t expecting to like this? (Honest fact: I grabbed it because the fact it was a Perkins novel. That’s it.) I wasn’t at all appealed by the storyline. I knew I’d hate myself for this, but I knew I’d be bound to compare the ohmygosh amazingness of Anna and St. Clair’s story to Lola and Cricket (plus, with ‘Anna’ being set in Paris, I was kind of more veered on that one.) Like, most people came up to me to actually point out the predictableness of the storyline within its title. (“Really, Brianna? Lola and the Boy Next Door? LOLA. AND THE BOY. NEXT DOOR. Seriously.”) But it’s Stephanie Perkins! And who am I to deny the temptation of having more romances and fictional hot boys to go gaga over? Mmf, not at all…
************ABOUT THIS BOOK: In ‘Lola’ we’re welcomed into a new setting, all new characters (and old), and even more boy drama. Seventeen year old Lola Nolan is completely content with her life in Los Angeles. Well, almost that is. She has a hot rocker boyfriend, an amazing best friend, actually loving parents, and a chic (or rather eccentric?) collection of clothes. Um, so why is this almost perfect? Ugh. The Bell Twins, Calliope and Cricket, are back and moving in next door (again!)—just when Lola finally thought she could escape them for good. But Cricket’s somehow trying—actually wanting—to get back into Lola’s life again which not only sets a lot of boy drama, but Lola must finally learn to reconcile her feelings for the boy next door.
Like Anna, Lola is trying to come to terms with growing up and learning how to handle situations, and LOVE. Here’s the amazing thing about Stephanie Perkins novels: the characters. All her books (or at least, the ones I read so far) have an amazing sense of theatricalness to them to make them honestly endearing. (Which, is also why I’m wondering why no one opted for Anna and the French Kiss’s film rights?! Seriously!! It totally should be a movie.) Writing wise, it’s good but it’s simply the characters that really hold everything together. The dialogue, their descriptions, the—everything. I. Love. And I’m really trying hard not to gush!
MY REVIEW: More often than not, yes, I found myself comparing Lola and the Boy Next Door to Anna and the French Kiss. I didn’t really like Lola’s character much because of my own struggle to identify with her. Her fashion style is crazy (too much to describe honestly) and the avante-gardeness of her just made me feel . . . turned off for some reason? That didn’t really discourage me from reading, but there’s something about her style that irks me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m just content with a cardigan, t-shirt and jeans but—she’s overall good. Sometimes, she comes across as a tad self-centered and teenagery, her decisions are really ill-thought, and at some point in the novel I was actually beginning to think all her problems were self-centered around Cricket but it isn’t just that. When you inspect the pieces of the story as a whole, you realize there’s way more to the story than that—therefore, making Stephanie Perkins novels the not-so-typical teenage romance.
Suffice to say, Lola can be either an amazingohmygosh character or that character you love to hate, you know? I had moments where I was super uber annoyed with her, a feeling I never even had for Anna. My ‘bone to pick’ with Lola is probably one of the things that discouraged me from giving it five stars. But there’s enough drama to keep interest, and YES, Perkins give us even more hot, dreamy boys to swoon over. Which I LOVED.
Cricket, Lola’s ex-crush, is given his fair share of development. I honestly don’t understand why Lola could hold so much resentment for him, because he seemed so genuine. Surely he’s not Etienne, he doesn’t exactly have British boy charm and humor but he’s Cricket. Innovative and certainly still charming, I think Cricket will find it’s way into the hearts of romance-lovers. It definitely has for me!
So is Lola and the French Kiss worth reading? It’s smartly written for a YA contemporary romance book. Needless to say, it’s not the best romance out there (and comparatively to Anna and the French Kiss: MEH!) but it’s great enough to keep readers interested, and you’ll definitely be on the edge of your seat wondering if Lola will ever get to wrap up her feelings and if The Thing between Cricket and Lola ever really gets reconciled. It’s savvy, it’s funny, and I definitely recommend if you were a fan of Anna and the French Kiss, or if you generally love YA romances! Another winner from Stephanie Perkins.
About the Author
Well, hello! I'm Stephanie Perkins, and I write novels for teens (and for adults who aren't afraid to admit that teen books are awesome). I was born in South Carolina, raised in Arizona, attended universities in San Francisco and Atlanta, and now I live in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.
My best friend is my husband Jarrod. Our house is almost a hundred years old, and every room is painted a different color of the rainbow. We share it with a cat named Mr. Tumnus.
I've always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, and now as a novelist. On weekdays, you'll find me at my desk, typing away, downing cups of coffee and tea. On the weekend, you'll find me at the movies, waiting for the actors to kiss. I believe all novels and films should have more kissing.
You can find Stephanie on her website here.
A fan-made trailer on “Anna and the French Kiss”
I also cannot wait for the last(?) book in the Anna and the French Kiss series! It’s sad to see the series finally coming to close. The last book, Isla and the Happily Ever After, following Isla (she made a little guest appearance in Anna and the French Kiss!) and Josh (Etienne’s best friend in the first book!) Are you excited for Isla and the Happily Ever After coming May 2014? Share your thoughts below!